3/11/2015

Keeping it between the lines

Thanks for your patience regarding the blog posts. I've been trying to keep it between the lines, and have only had moderate success lately. School is being a real challenge when it comes to accommodations. Most of my teachers are fabulous! But, as they say, there is one in every crowd.

Probably the most frustrating part is in finding out that I need accommodations at all. The frustration of learning disabilities and a head injury is immeasurable. However, they make a huge difference. It would be impossible for me to pass classes without the support. As it is, if all goes as planned, I'll be inducted into the college honor society later this month. It's close on the GPA, but it's close enough to count. :)

My physical problems seem to also be on the rise. I fell again and will begin physical therapy (again) on Friday over the shoulder that I injured. It's the foot drop thing... again.

However, life isn't all gloom and doom. My husband's churches are putting together a missions team to go to Alaska, North Carolina and to Mississippi this summer. Everyone here is excited about the opportunities. I'm determined to go as able.

My churches are great. The early one really helped me on Sunday morning. An ill-timed low blood sugar reaction threatened to derail the entire service. Only I would have a reaction like that just before preaching, right? Not only was everyone extremely patient but church members set about finding sugar sources to bring the levels back up. All was almost well by the time that I arrived at the second church.

So, there are bright spots. My point in posting is to remind myself that life isn't always a peak or a valley. It's a roller coaster ride that carries you through both. It's wild, untamed and unpredictable - both in good ways and in bad. However, I'm still riding the roller coaster and my hunch is that it's the ride through life that matters most. To ride, is to enjoy life to its fullest. I plan to enjoy the ride for a long, long time to come.

3/05/2015

Accommodations cooperation

I have returned to college this semester and am glad to be here. Classes are going well except for math. An accommodations plan was created by the office for students with disabilities.  Unfortunately, all of my learning disabilities converge to make my math life frustrating. Even worse is that my instructor doesn't seem to want to follow my accommodations plan. I'm working on it though and the student disabilities office is terrific. Otherwise, the professor is doing as rest job.

Hopefully the math prof will get with the program asap. She didn't want me to take my exam in the testing center or divide it. She also said that I probably wouldn't need a homemaker. - which is wrong. I'm not sure she understands how accommodations are supposed to work and that's a problem for us both. Saturday is almost here. We'll be talking more about it then. Wish me luck because it may well be needed.

2/06/2015

Top Fundraising Ideas for Churches, Youth Groups and Nonprofits

All charities exist on the generosity of others. An estimated $295 billion dollars was donated to charities in 2006. As a former nonprofit director, I have seen good organizations tremble at the thoughts of raising money. Yet, fundraising is how charities keep running and how small youth groups go on mission trips.

Mention fundraising to a group and you will inevitably hear horror stories of hours spent at a traffic light in the summer heat. Reactions may include nervousness about asking friends for money and the desire for a 'different' type of fundraiser.

A fun or exciting fundraiser is important. The more interesting it is, the more people who want to jump aboard. More people means the organization or group can raise more money.
But what about when your group is small or volunteer hours are limited?

These fundraising ideas are workable for groups of just about any size. The events can be done on a small scale or a large one. How big the event is will be determined by:

1. The amount you need to raise.
2. The size of your organization.
3. Number of volunteers
4. How much time each volunteer can give
5. Venue size and cost

Now that these considerations have been determined it's time to plan your event. The list below gives ideas that can be scaled to fit groups of any size. Which one will you choose?
  • Dinners
  • Car or tractor show
  • Live auction with refreshments
  • Antique appraisal fair
  • Restaurant meal night at a fast food, pizza or local restaurant
  • Crowdfunding
  • All day music event with concession
  • Yard, used book or bake sale
  • cookbook
  • Festival
  • Product or candy sales
  • Family pictures
  • Breakfast with a local celebrity, Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny (in season).
  • Teddy bear tea for all ages
  • Fashion show and luncheon
  • Car wash
  • Motorcycle rally
  • Bike ride or 5K Walk
  • Opportunity quilt
  • Golf or fishing tournament
  • Art or photo exhibit and sale
  • Craft fair
  • Traffic light donation campaign
Points to ponder:
Don't decide to hold a tournament, 5K run or put a memories or cookbook together the month before funds are needed. Some events can take months to plan. Only your group can decide whether to hold a large event that takes months to implement or a fairly quick fundraiser. There isn't any right or wrong answer. It's all matter of the five steps mentioned above.

Groups should look into the size and affordability of a venue after determining the fundraising goal. If you only want to raise a few hundred dollars, then a free street corner may be ideal for a bake sale, yard sale or lemonade stand. Raising more money might mean expanding the yard sale and moving it into a nearby parking lot or gum.

Job descriptions need to be written for key volunteers. The descriptions define tasks and make it clearer for everyone to understand what the others are doing. Volunteers should pitch in if asked to help in other areas. The idea is to work as a team to raise the funds that are needed.

Accessibility is important. Does the thought of carrying yard sale boxes up or down steps give you pause? Are you concerned about rolling boxes of books up a steep ramp? If so, then your customers will be too.

Cost is always a concern. Churches, stores and businesses may be willing to work with you. Always have an agreement well in advance of your fundraiser. It may be helpful to spell out the terms in writing and have everyone sign it. This gives you something to refer to later.

A written agreement may or may not be needed by small groups in a small venue. However: it is critical for organizations that are utilizing a large or costly space. When in doubt, write it out.
Insurance is always a concern. If needed, special event insurance can be purchased from most insurance companies. A number of companies sell it online. Always do your due diligence before purchasing insurance.